If you’re looking for a way to generate a profit online in 2021, creating a membership site can be a good option.
The idea behind a membership site is that your customers get exclusive access to members-only content.
The content can be articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, or really any kind of content.
Every time you add new content to your site, your subscribers get access. They have a username and password that they can use to get the content, as long as they maintain an active membership.
Is a membership right for you, as far as being a business?
Overall, it’s a good option if you want to create an online community, or perhaps if you already have one and want to monetize it. For example, if you already have a pretty solid social media following, you might want to encourage your followers to join your membership site.
A membership site can also be good if you have other digital products, like free videos or maybe an online course you sell.
Membership sites are especially valuable as a business model because it’s recurring revenue. You have predictable monthly revenue coming in, and you do have to focus on retaining members, but still, recurring revenue is a big goal for a lot of business owners.
The thing is, a membership site is a lot of work. People are literally paying for your content, so you have to produce a lot of it, and it needs to be great and worth the money.
Beyond those basics, the following are a few other things to know about starting a membership site in 2021.
Choose a Niche
If you don’t already have a niche, choosing one is important because this is going to help you map out the rest of your membership site.
You want to choose a niche that isn’t so oversaturated that you’ll never gain traction among the competition. At the same time, there needs to be enough interest so that you’re going to have an audience willing to pay for your content.
Develop a Specific Monetization Strategy
With a membership site, there are actually a lot of different ways you can go about monetizing it.
Start analyzing your competitors if you aren’t sure of the direction you should go.
For example, what does your competitor offer as part of membership? Is it all content, or are there other products and services? What is the price point and how big is the community?
How are you going to create perceived value for whatever you charge for?
You want to consider not just how you monetize a membership site as you’re starting out, but you’ll also want to gauge how much room it leaves you for future growth and build-out.
Do You Have an Existing Audience?
We talked briefly about how valuable having an existing audience can be for a membership site. Do you already have an audience, and is there a need for your content? If you don’t have an existing audience, you have to think about how you’ll build one.
It might be worth your time to build an audience first if you don’t already have one.
When you’re considering your audience, you also really need to dig into who you hope to provide value to. How specific is your audience?
How Much of the Work Are You Going to Have to Outsource?
There’s a lot that goes into creating any content-based website, but if your monetization strategy is based on selling memberships or subscriptions, there’s even more work in many cases.
How much of the work from building the site to regularly creating and posting content will you be able to manage on your own, and how much will you have to outsource? What is your level of interest and expertise in the area you plan to focus on? Do you have the budget to hire content creators?
It may be when you really think about it that you realize written content isn’t your strongest area to focus on, and you could instead do video content.
You’re also going to have to think about the logistics of setting up a membership site. For example, how will you build the site and manage payments?
Will you have different membership levels available at different price points, and if so, how will those be handled?
There’s a lot of financial value in a successful membership site, but it’s also a unique business model that requires a lot of work, so ask yourself some of the above questions before you decide whether or not it’s right for you.